differentiation in writing workshop 

there are many reasons we love to teach writing.

the students’ growth is so visible; even after a week (or even a day! we teach our kids that they’re always growing, always getting better, so today’s writing should be stronger than yesterday’s), you can lay two pieces side by side and see growth.

we get to know our students so well, and they get to know us equally well. at the heart of writing workshop is sharing the stories of our lives, and these stories are a huge way that our class gets to know one another intimately. in this way, writing workshop helps to build our community.

we like to write. because writing is fun for us personally, we also find it fun to teach kids how to write.

teaching writing grows us as writers. to teach writing well, we have to do the writing work we’re asking our kids to do. this act of doing the work alongside them grows us stronger, just as it’s growing them stronger.

there are endless ways to link writing to reading, and we love reading. we especially love studying our favorite authors and giving their work a go ourselves.

there are so many opportunities to teach kids how to collaborate with others through teaching writing. this is important work, work that – just like the act of writing itself – goes with our kids far beyond the walls of our classroom. learning to listen to others, to give feedback, to work together – those are skills our kids can learn in writing workshop, and then carry with them in all parts of our lives.

it makes differentiation easy. (well, easy isn’t a fair word because teaching writing is hard work. maybe what we mean is that it creates room for differentiation.) we’re sure this is a plus for administrators, too. the truth is, when we teach writing and engage in conferences and small groups, we’re differentiating automatically. it’s not something extra we have to do or plan for; it just happens. a teacher needs as much of that as he can get, right?


this is the first post in a series on differentiation in writing workshop. throughout this series, we’ll work to share the different ways we plan for differentiation, as well as the components of workshop that naturally allow for differentiation.

the posts in this series will include our thoughts on how differentiation in writing workshop can be achieved through:


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